Luisa has provided an analysis and insight that many if us as Americans might not see on our own. Look at our racial history with fresh eyes.
The title and lyrics (see here) refer to the black U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment, known as “Buffalo Soldiers”, formed in 1866, that fought in the Indian Wars.
Many of the privates in this segregated regiment were slaves taken from Africa who went to rid the west of Native Americans , so that white people could occupy their lands.
That nickname was given by the Indian tribes who were fighting against them, as a result of their skin colour and hair texture, which seemed to resemble the mane of the buffalo. They accepted the name and wore it proudly knowing the Native Americans worshipped the buffalo and that name that appellation could be considered as a sign of their respect.
Their specific task was to protect the white colonizers who had settled in their lands from “Indian” attacks. In practice, the black people who had been taken from Africa as slaves, once freed (just after the Civil War) were sent to kill the natives, in the name of the Country that was no longer slaver but even ‘allowed’ them to form military regiments.
That war was a fight for freedom on both sides. The African American soldiers were fighting to obtain a freedom they had never known (although the war against slavery was over), while the Native Americans were fighting to defend their freedom.